Meaghan Shields


Meaghan Shields

Off for more adventures, this time to the Middle East!

I was very interested in the theoretical and practical underpinnings of kibbutz culture even before coming to Israel. My favorite high school teacher, Mr. Trodd used to call me "Commi", so maybe my left-ward leanings have cultivated this interest. Yotam and his entire family are kibbutznikiem (kibbutznik being a person from a kibbutz, add "iem" for pluralization) so coming here to the Jordan Valley, which hosts many kibbutziem of varying stature and success has been an extremely educational experience. A kibbutz by traditional definition is a communal settlement. I think they are found only in Israel, and in Jewish communities elsewhere, although it should be stressed that these communities (from what I've seen anyhow) are not intrinsically identifiable by their Jewishness. In fact, in the kibbutziem I've been to, there is a staunch secularism that prevails, ... read more
The GM, Hard at Work
Working in the Dates

Middle East » Israel » North District » Poriyya August 14th 2009

Once again, vast oceans of time have slipped by, in the moments, minutes, hours and days that compose life when you're focused on living it, as opposed to writing about it. I was reminded recently to update my family and friends back home about my goings-on here. A reminder which I appreciate, especially given my tendency in the past days to lean towards a self-pitying state of homesickness. Thus, a good opportunity to reach out and connect, to share some of the moments that have been passing by in the last few months here in Israel. I realize now that my last entry was one of comparative harshness, in relating an unpleasant experience Yotam and I endured at the hands of some power-tripping cops. Since then, life has been very smooth with summer setting in, bringing ... read more
Out on the Boat
Hard at Work
Introspective Beachscape

Middle East » Israel » South District » Masada April 28th 2009

Here in Israel, there are security check points EVERYWHERE. Not manned by police or military, just security dudes with handguns. But they are literally everywhere (grocery stores, IKEA, movie theatres etc.) Paranoia is God here. So this weekend on our Dead Sea vacation, we were coming back to the hotel from a hike in the desert, and while going through security with the car, everyone was being asked to open their trunks. I was driving, so when we pulled up I obliged, and the guy checked. Then this other guy came to the window, stuck his head in and flashed a police badge. Starts talking to me in Hebrew, and I had no idea what was going on. Yotam passes him the car registration (we had taken his father's car for the trip) and then the ... read more

Middle East » Israel » North District » Poriyya April 28th 2009

The coming of spring in Canada is a dramatic transition from dark to light, from cold to warm, the natural embodiment of the cycle of death and re-birth. This transition in Israel especially in the north where I live is perhaps less dramatic in its scope, but is nonetheless present in the blooming of colorful wild flowers, the growth of fresh green grass, and the scent of nutrient-rich earth. This period of bloom and bustle is short lived though, for even as I write, the sloping shores of the Kinneret, lush and green only a few short weeks ago, are now yellowing under the intensity of the sun, and even this agrarian region of the country will feel like a desert before too long. And as the flora and her buzzing partners are hard at work, ... read more
Warming Up
Rockin' It

Middle East » Israel » Tel Aviv District » Tel Aviv March 14th 2009

One can come to be used to new circumstances at an alarming speed. I have experienced this phenomenon on more than one occasion, and find it to be a theme running through my current travels as well. Where I currently reside, in Poriyya Illit on the south-western slopes above the Kinneret, the feeling is one of quiet, relaxed solitude. Unlike in the kibbutziem where the collective is the priority and I think you would be hard-pressed to ever feel alone, in this hilltop village people live in detached homes, behind gates and fences and more or less mind their own business without too much interaction with the rest of the 'community.' Despite my description, I have not in any way found this place to be lonely (yet... I reserve the right to alter this statement in ... read more
Hot Enough for the AC
First Glimpse of the Mediterranean
First Hospital in Israel

Middle East » Israel » North District » Golan February 26th 2009

This current adventure on which I have embarked is remarkably different from any of the travel I have endeavored upon in the past in one key way; it's scope. In some ways I think more of this as the journey of an ex-pat than a vacation or trip. This (for the sake of my family, and Israeli Immigration control) is not to state any intention to remain here permanently, never to return, but even the year I have committed myself to is double that of any travels I have experienced in the past. I have not been overwhelmed by this thus far, in fact quite the contrary. I have found myself in a state of relaxation much more befitting to a vacation than the 'real life' I have consumed to date, but with all of the ... read more
Agamon Hula
Water & Sky
Big Birds Flying in the Sky...

Middle East » Israel » Tel Aviv District » Tel Aviv February 20th 2009

It is amazing how in any given moment time can feel as though it is crawling by, but when you stop to look back, a whole week has passed. And this is where I presently find myself. I arrived in Israel at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv at 2:30am local time on Feb. 14/09. After a near eternity of traveling, it was glorious to be somewhere permanently, even if it did mean facing Israeli immigration. Being a bit of a worrywart by nature, I had spent a fair amount of time trying to conceive of every possible question that could be asked, along with the appropriate range of potential responses. However, about a week before departure I decided to abandon all worry and instead projected the image of myself walking out of the airport with ... read more
First Rays of Dawn in the Promised Land
The 'hood
The Homestead

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam February 13th 2009

Manifestation is a truly beautiful thing. To see a dream through to its realization is a blessing in an utterly simple and honest way. Even in manifestations of negativity, the progress of causality is wondrous, I think. And when there is nothing sinister involved, all the better! So, I sit here in Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, reveling in the beauty of a dream that has been put into action with full intention and rootedness. In less than 10 hours I will be in Israel, and while I am in awe of my current life circumstances, I also understand that it is the product of a linear progression of which I am the agent of action. But enough projection and reflection.... more of the present. I left Toronto yesterday at 10:20pm local time. I experienced the trans-Atlantic ... read more
The Narrows
The Rijksmuseum
Rijksmuseum front terrace

North America » Canada » British Columbia » Nelson November 24th 2008

I have postponed writing so many times during this current adventure due to my complete lack of commitment to spending time on the computer. A dearth of high-speed internet has certainly contributed to this less than diligent approach to recounting my travels, but I must admit that I have been more attracted to living, than writing about it. This being said, I am now in a perfectly banal suburb of Vancouver, with high-speed wireless (drool) and am finding myself reminiscing on some of the life-changing experiences fortune has delivered to me, and thought I'd might share a few here. Where to begin.... from somewhere near the beginning seems appropriate. After five days on the road, Yotam and I landed in the craziest festival in the Kootaneys; Shambhala. We entered this wonderland outside of Salmo, BC by ... read more
The Sea of Revelers
Our Kitchen

North America » Canada » Saskatchewan September 6th 2008

After two and a half days of rugged, rolling Ontario, we finally made our way into the flat expanse of Manitoba, the land of big sky. I had been to Winnipeg once before and upon our descent into the airport, I remember being shocked at the sheer uni-dimensionality of this terrain. But like almost all Canadian geography, when we do prairies, we do 'em big. These planes are almost overwhelming in their flatness and I went a bit stir crazy our third day driving through Saskatchewan. It seriously feels like the road continues endlessly towards the horizon, and I wondered a few times if perhaps the scenery was moving by us as we remained stationary. I have a feeling Alice would have felt at home in the prairies. Wanting to cover as much flat land as ... read more
Fun on the Prairies
The Livelihood of our Great Nation
Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'...

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